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Mon, Sep

Journalists must pledge to uphold ethical principles

The large number of media organisations in the country and the advent of social media have obviously heightened competition among the players within the sector. In their quest to become the first to break the news, most of them end up with stories many of which are either half-truths or complete falsehoods.

This practice, particularly in the run-up to the crucial general election about three weeks away, is most worrying as it is a threat to the stability of the country’s democracy.

It is against this background that the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei, advised the public to be wary of half-truths and rumours being presented as facts on social media and some traditional media outlets because of people’s parochial interests.

According to her, the media, especially social media, on a daily basis, peddle false news, leaving out the facts because of what she perceived as their parochial interests.

Mrs Osei wondered how the phenomenon of peddling half-truths could help achieve credible elections when that practice persisted on a daily basis.

The Daily Graphic fully shares in her concerns and condemns all the faceless people behind the various social media platforms which engage in practices that breach the code of ethics of journalism practice.

We believe that for the country to remain intact before, during and after the general election on December 7, the role of the media in preserving the sanctity of the electoral process cannot be overlooked.

It is unfortunate that the basic principles of journalism practice; that is to educate, entertain and inform, have been relegated to the background under the guise of being the first to break the news. The deliberate twisting of stories, a move meant to capitalise on the gullibility of the people to sway their attention towards one side or to win sympathy, is to say the least unacceptable.

We are aware that most of these unfortunate actions are being perpetrated by some politicians whose quest to rule the country has taken precedence over what should bring about peace to sustain the democratic credentials of the Fourth Republic.

The Daily Graphic agrees with the view that a country without a vibrant media cannot develop and progress in a manner worthy of mention. However, we also strongly believe that an irresponsible media is more dangerous and a threat to the stability of any sovereign state.

This is because the media, if irresponsibly used, can be very lethal.  We, therefore, want to prevail on media house owners, managers, editors and reporters alike to help preserve the democratic process by striving to be ethical  at all times. It is needless to remind journalists that they are bound to cross-check their facts, cross-check and check again before taking the decision to publish.

Much as we agree that competition within the media landscape is at its peak, we still owe it a duty to feed our esteem listeners, readers and viewers with the truth and also affirm our commitment to the principles of fairness, balance and accuracy in our reportage as our contribution to the attainment of a peaceful electoral process.